Cover Image: Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc

Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc

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Member Reviews

I have been obsessed with Joan of Arc since I saw Leelee Sobieski bring her to life on the small screen. Being a reader I was over the moon to find out that there was a new book based on this remarkable young woman, I was absolutely here for it! 

Katherine J. Chen's rendition of Joan's tale was different than others. Especially when it comes to the relationship between here and her father, her sister, and her motivations for participating in the war. The majority of the material I have consumed about Joan's life focuses on Joan the Warrior, not so much on Joan the child, Joan the daughter, Joan the sister. While this telling talks about the Warrior Joan, the primary focus is her life, and her pre Joan of Arc history wrapping during battle time, but not diving into her trial. 

For any Joan of Arc fan, this is a , though readers with triggers should be wary. Joan lived during war time France in the early 1400's, some violence is to be expected, and based on history sexual assault in wartime is also to be expected, Additional triggers I was not expecting were abuse, animal cruelty (graphically depicted)-both in war and at home. 

While I would not recommend this book for people that do not have an interest in literature about Joan and this time period, I would recommend it to people interested, but proceed with caution if you have triggers, this one isn't for the faint of heart.

***I am a reader, a writer, and a book collector. My physical bookshelf is full of books that I picked up solely because the cover spoke to me (some have been read, others have not) and books that I read digitally, audibly, or checked out from the library/borrowed from a friend and I loved them or their cover so much that it needed a place on my shelf. Had I not been interested in/known who Joan of Arc was, I would have passed this one up (I am in the US). However if it was the UK version I would have immediately picked it up and most likely purchased it based on the synopsis, may or may not have read it until doing some research into Joan of Arc, but It would have a place on my shelf. As it is, the opinion question of if you would purchase a copy, absolutely-if I can find the UK version.
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I have always been fascinated with Joan of ARC. I am so glad to have finally found a book that has given her the story she deserved!
A young woman,that's strong,determined, and willing to help her king and country in any way! Highly recommend this book!
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I didn't know much about Joan of Arc, to be honest, so it was fun to learn more about her life through this book. It's important to note this is one author's interpretation of her life, and maybe not one everyone would agree with, but it was one I found intriguing and interesting. I found it to be slower paced than a story like Circe, which I admit for reasons unknown to me, I kind of expected this to be like. Because the story took so long to hook me, and for the relative slowness to it, I'd give it 3.5 stars. If you like historical fiction, this is a book worth exploring.
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The story of Joan of Arc is one of my all-time favorites. Women and their contributions to history can often be overlooked, which makes Joan's story feel special. Whenever books become available about her life, I always jump on the chance to read them. Reading Chen's novel about Joan met all of my expectations. 

As the reader, you experience new facets of Joan's character. Chen was able to portray Joan in a way that felt real, whereas other authors will focus on making her seem more saintly and less human. The book starts when Joan is about 10 years old. You move through her early life and learn about her struggles with her father. As the story unfolds, you watch Joan develop into someone determined, fearless, and strong. 

Katherine Chen did a remarkable job at honoring Joan for the leader and feminist that she was. This book was both refreshing and a joy to read.
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A fictional story based on Joan of Arc, her life and battles for France. I liked the story, but it wasn’t the book I thought it was going to be. I didn’t know it was fictional until I started to read it, then realized. But it was okay for me. It was a good fictional based story of her.
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Did I like this book?  No, I loved this book!  I couldn't put the book down!

In all honesty, I did not know much about Joan of Arc before reading this book (know it's historical fiction).  From what I got from the book, she showed great determination, courage and belief in herself throughout.  the descriptions scream these to me.  And from what was said about her family, all of the above was surprising.

When it comes the book as a whole - it all flows. From all that was written, I could picture everything in my head and see it as a movie. I have read very few books of which I can say this.   I did not want this book to end.

I highly recommend this book! I'm glad I read it!

(Writing this review was very delayed - Ironically, I actually finished reading the book on the anniversary of Joan of Arc's burning/death.)
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This story was great! I loved the historical aspect, and I really appreciate all the research that went into writing this!  It's a great story, and it was written really well!
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A retelling of Joan of Arc’s life story, this moves at a laconic pace for about 80% of the book and then rushes to the end with several critical events happening in rapid succession.   The book ends with Joan’s capture, which left me disappointed because I wanted to read about what happened next. I didn’t know much detail about her life before this book, and it was definitely eye opening. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc.
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Well-written and richly detailed, this fictional retelling of the life of Joan of Arc strives to provide a motivation for Joan's zeal that is not spiritual. Instead, Joan's actions spring from the resilience and resistance she learned in her early years when she was abused by her father and from her love for her sister and Joan's desire to avenge her sister's rape at that hands of the English. As Chen writes in the book's Afterword, "the Joan who appears in these pages is a Joan intensely personal to me.... I had to take many liberties with Joan's history and with the history of the time to make Joan's journey relatable."

Many will find that Chen's novel accomplishes that, but for me, this secular retelling is jarringly ahistorical. Although Chen imagines the past in rich detail, she fails to imagine an earlier world in which religious beliefs are central in giving life meaning and purpose.
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Hey! 👋🏻 It’s me over here trying to make my way through my Netgalley reads, including backlog. Thank you to @netgalley and @randomhouse for the eARC of Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc. This book released on July 5. 

Let’s talk female role models. Back in Joan’s time there weren’t very many. Like, at all. So, I was curious to read Chen’s historical fiction novel about Joan of Arc. Chen takes her own spin on how she thinks Joan would have been. I appreciated how, in her afterword, Chen describes how Joan is typically described as this holy figure who didn’t actually fight or kill anyone. 

The Joan of this novel is an abused child who rose above it and became a strong woman. Noble, feisty and ever loyal to France. Joan grows up tall and extremely physically strong, so unusual for a woman that she draws the eyes of those closest to the king. From there her story unfolds.

While I enjoyed this one, it wasn’t a book I’ll be shouting about from the rooftops. I did love reading about this fantastic heroine from the past because I’m all about excellent female role models.
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A sincere thank you to NetGalley and Random House for a digital ARC of this book. 

This novel is a revelation. Seriously one of the best books I've read all year. I feel bereft that I've finished it. The prose really feels spiritual. The craft choices Chen makes in the POV (which feels simultaneously so individual but also historic, collective, and communal) is just impeccable. 

This is one of the books I will be sad not to have the opportunity to read again for the first time. All the stars.
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You might think Joan of Arc’s tale has been told enough times, but this detailed, lived-in portrait puts the legendary historical figure firmly into her own time and place, imagining the martyred saint as a fierce, funny, resourceful giant of a teen whose escape from her abusive father lands her in the midst of the corrupt political world of France near the end of the Hundred Years’ War.

Life in Domrémy in 1422 is rich but complex; far from being simple peasants, the citizens are politically astute and upwardly mobile in spite of periodic attacks by the allied forces of England and Burgundy. The disaster of Agincourt is recent, and Joan is raised to despise the memory of English King Henry and revere the efforts of the Dauphin of France to reclaim his throne. A tragic ending to a mock-battle between the children of neighboring villages inspires 10-year-old Joan to use her talent for fixing what is broken to benefit her entire community; as she grows into her remarkable size, strength, and charisma, she catches the attention of the jaded aristocrats in exile who mistake her organizational genius for divine mystique. The reader almost forgets Joan’s tragic fate as we marvel at her ability to fix her mind on the goal of a unified France, while also possessing the practical ability to communicate with and inspire people from all walks of life.

Chen is interested in the human Joan, not the visionary, and the voice she creates for her is unforgettable: blunt, sarcastic, affectionate, and insightful. Her religious “voices” in this version are rendered as flashes of forward-thinking insight into potential military and political outcomes. This is the richest characterization of a historical figure I’ve encountered since Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall, and Chen’s achievement belongs in that august company.
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This is a retelling of Joan d’Arc/Joan of Arc from the 15th century during the English and French war. One might say a story inspired by the real person.

Instead of this historical girl who was visited by angels and spiritual visions, we have a girl who is beaten by her father nearly daily. Jacque d’Arc curses and wishes she were never born, her only crime not being a boy when she was born. He had lost a bet on that, and now will never forgive her. 

Joan learns how to take the beatings, she learns how to fend for herself, living off scrapes of food, or sleeping in the forest to escape more brutal beatings. This childhood taught her the strength and fortitude to go to battle against the English in the name of taking back France and give the crown to its rightful King.
 The God Joan talks to isn’t the saintly spiritual type one may expect. She demands things of God, or tell God what will happen. How Joan becomes super strong and accurate and seemingly well trained as a soldier does appear to be miracles granted by God. 

The general outline of the book, once Joan leaves her family village, somewhat follows the true story of the historical Joan, but it still has much fiction within. 

Going into this book expecting a realistic fictional account of Joan will lead to frustration. I admit I kept thinking of what I knew of her story and expecting this to come up in the book, but that made me not fully appreciate the story we have here. It is a well-written story that I got wrapped up into.
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This is a wonderful reimagining of Joan of Arc.  This is a richly detailed book about a powerful person in history.  This is a heavily researched book that uses those details to give us a full picture of a strong, willful young woman.  Joan comes alive and becomes not just a historical figure, but a woman who comes to know what she is supposed to be doing with her life, and does that.
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I enjoyed this book. It was an excellent read on the life and martyrdom of Joan of Arc. What a fascinating person!
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I LOVE the stories of Joan of Arc and this one has been so capitvating to read!  Chen starts each section of the book with a quick historical recap and sets the readers up for creating accurate visuals!  Her writin is descriptive and gives you a sense that whils Joan is larger than life she is also very human.  I loved the look at Joan's early years in this one!  I love historical fiction and haven't read much about Joan of Arc and I would definitley recommend this one!
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Very interesting interpretation of Joan of Arc’s story. A little slow at first but intensified when the battles began. While Joan’s character was well developed the other characters were less so.
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I posted my thoughts on storygraph and on goodreads. I'll post a link to goodreads in my instagram stories in a few days.
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This is a lyrically written account of the life of Joan of Arc. I loved that this book described her as a real woman and not a Saint. She was compassionate but also arrogant. The brutality of her upbringing at the hands of her father shaped her into the fierce fighter she became. However, her youthful belief that she was right and the king was wrong led to her downfall. The arrogance of youth. The writing describing the battles was exceptional. So vivid. Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This was a really solid story that brought Joan to life as a real person. It didn't rely on mystical blather, it didn't get caught up in religion beyond how other people chose to interpret or capitalize on Joan's experiences.  Joan did manifest some perhaps miraculous talents, but her naivete and pure practicality made it all seem just another day in the life.  You feel really bad for Joan, trying to avenge her sister and save the French common people, while swimming with sharks and ultimately getting thrown under the bus by her king.
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